ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Bill Griffeth and Sue Herera.
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Stocks rally. Earnings season gets off to a good start. And that`s put investors in a buying mood.
BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Health prognosis. Medicare is the fastest growing part of the health insurance market. That helped UnitedHealth easily top earning`s expectations.
HERERA: Beats and boosts. J&J`s quarter was better than expected and its outlook strong despite all of its legal headaches.
Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Tuesday, October 15th.
GRIFFETH: And we do bid you a good evening, everybody, and well.
Wall Street`s focus was definitely on fundamentals today. Yes, there was some positive news on trade and on the U.K.`s efforts to leave the European Union. But what really put investors in buying mood was earnings, especially solid results from banks and health care companies. And that sent the broader market higher today.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 237 points. We`re back above 27,000. Nasdaq was up 100. The S&P added 29.
Bob Pisani is at the New York Stock Exchange with a look at today`s rally.
BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Stocks roared higher today with the Dow up more than 300 points at its high.
Earnings, Brexit, a little bit of optimism on the China trade front all contributed to today`s gains.
First, we had earnings. JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) reported strong earnings, but most importantly, the consumer side was strong with good growth in loans, deposits and credit card. CEO Jamie Dimon reiterated that saying the consumer remains healthy with growth in wages and spending combined with strong balance sheets and low unemployment levels.
UnitedHealth also powered the Dow higher after a strong beat on both earnings and guidance that gave a boost to the broader healthcare sector. Also, we had positive comments from European Union negotiators on the prospects of a Brexit deal. That lifted the markets in the middle of the morning.
We`ve known that Brexit deal would be worth something to the market but it`s just been hard to quantify. Federal Reserve did specifically cite a hard no deal Brexit as a significant risk.
Finally, a little bit of warm and fuzzy feeling from China on the trade talks. “The Global Times” editor-in-chief said the Friday`s meeting did, in fact, represent a breakthrough, and that both sides have a strong will to achieve a deal. “The Global Times” is generally considered a mouthpiece for the Communist Party.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.
HERERA: A number of other banks reported earnings today. For Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), it was a mixed quarter. Profit fell more than expected, hit by a slowdown in deal-making while revenue topped forecasts.
Consumer banking powered Citi`s profits. The bank reported better than expected earnings, thanks to growth in its credit card unit and an increase in digital deposits.
And Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) missed third quarter profit estimates as mortgage income sank. The bank has been working to improve its image and has been operating under heavy regulatory scrutiny. Shares of all three banks finished the day higher.
GRIFFETH: Let`s turn to Bill Stone now for more analysis on these bank earnings from today. He`s chief investment officer at Avalon Investment and Advisory.
Bill, good to see you again. Welcome back.
BILL STONE, AVALON INVESTMENT & ADVISORY CIO: Thanks.
GRIFFETH: Thanks to the consumer, huh? And we keep hearing how they`re helping the retailers. They`re helping the banks now as well, aren`t they?
STONE: Exactly. I mean, I think it`s exactly the thing we talk about with the overall U.S. economy, it`s really the consumer keeping things together because manufacturing is you know you arguably in a recession, seeing a lot of the similar thing on the banking side, not as much demand from the business side of the equation. But the consumer just seems to have, you know, no real cracks in it yet.
HERERA: You know, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) is kind of a separate issue. They`ve had issues that they`ve been dealing with for some time. But if you put Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) aside, most of the major banks had some pretty solid results in investment banking, and also in some cases trading as well.
STONE: That`s true. I mean, you know, the investment banking was pretty good. Yes, I mean there`s specifics like Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) didn`t do as much mergers and acquisitions business, but they`re still ranked number one. So, it`s more like that business just didn`t have a big quarter.
So, you`re right, they did actually have a pretty decent job on the in general for those involved in the capital markets as well.
GRIFFETH: Do you have favorites in this group right now?
STONE: You know most of its interesting, just happens to be — we do like JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) quite a bit. You know, you`re talking — it looks very inexpensive. You know, certainly, it has very broad portfolio and then you also get a dividend of 3 percent while you`re kind of I`ll say waiting or whatever you want to say, and it looks obviously very secure.
So, I think actually a lot of these names we talked about. We do like Goldman despite the kind of transitory issues that they had in their earnings this quarter.
HERERA: Could the fly in the ointment though be the trade situation? I know the banks are domestically based so the international economy may not impact them quite as much as it would otherwise, but what about trade?
STONE: Yes, I mean, so city has more international exposure. We actually do like that as well, happens to be. But the interesting thing is you`re right. I think the more the issue is trade the global economy, if you continue to see a big slowdown. That does way further on the U.S. economy. Certainly that could be exactly the fly in the ointment.
We have some sort of recession that kicks in that`s certainly going to hurt the banks. And we think there are much better capital position, so it`s not the severity that you saw in the in the great recession, but that`s kind of the worry that I think is probably holding them back. We don`t think there`s a recession imminent. So I do think there`s some attractiveness there.
Quickly, it doesn`t help with the feds cutting interest rates right now either, does it?
It is hard part. I mean, the yield curve is very — you know, the difference between what they you know get deposits and what they lend out is, has a small differential which is usually what they make extra money on. So, that is part of the — you know, headwinds I guess you`d have to say for the banks as well.
GRIFFETH: Bill Stone with Avalon Investment Advisory — again, thanks for joining us tonight, Bill.
STONE: Thank you.
HERERA: A solid quarter for Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). The company reported better than expected earnings and raised its full-year forecast, despite being embroiled in a number of legal fights. The quarterly results sent the stock up more than 1 percent in trading today.
Meg Tirrell has the details.
MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Third quarter results that blew away Wall Street`s expectations offered investors in Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) a brief respite from an onslaught of recent legal headlines. Both sales and earnings topped estimates of analysts helped by J&J`s pharmaceuticals and medical device businesses. Sales in its consumer products unit, J&J smallest despite selling its best-known brands like Tylenol and Band-Aids were in line with expectations.
The health giant also raised its forecast for full-year results.
JOSEPH WOLK, JOHNSON & JOHNSON CFO: We see great momentum for the balance of this year. We think that`s going to catapult us into 2020.
TIRRELL: Even as the stock rose, analysts noted the overhang of ongoing litigation. As of June 30th, J&J; faced lawsuits from more than 100,000 plaintiffs over everything from opioids to talc powders to hip replacement systems and multiple J&J drugs.
The company last week was hit with an $8 billion punitive damages verdict over its drug Risperdal, and award legal experts expect will be overturned or reduced. In August, J&J; lost a case against the state of Oklahoma over its role in the opioid crisis and was ordered to pay $572 million. J&J is appealing.
The company also just reached a $20 million settlement with two Ohio counties to avoid the first federal opioid trial scheduled to start next week. A major question now is whether a broader settlement can be reached among all plaintiffs and defendants involved in opioid litigation.
WOLK: Our drugs were less than 1 percent of the market share of all outstanding opioids. So, we want to make sure that`s in proportion. But where it makes sense for all stakeholders, we`ll look to have a settlement.
TIRRELL: But what about J&J`s reputation as it takes on these legal battles. It`s something CFO Joe Wolk said they`re watching closely.
WOLK: If you look at the most recent, most admired list, we`re still well within the top 20. We always aspire to be number one. That`s what our employees are motivated by. That`s what they`re engaged to do.
So, we monitor this closely and I could say that we`re still — the expectations around our company are still the same, and we`re going to continue to do that and focus there.
TIRRELL: With J&J stock trailing the S&P by more than 15 percentage points this year, Wall Street seems not so sure.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell.
GRIFFETH: By the way, we should point out that $572 million judgment that Meg mentioned against the company has just been reduced. The judge conceded this afternoon that there was a $107 million calculation error. He said, that`ll be the last time I use that calculator.
And there`s a report tonight also that they the three major drug distributors, McKesson (NYSE:MCK), AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC) and Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH) are all in talks to pay $18 billion to settle opioid litigation. J&J`s also involved in the discussions to contribute additional money.
HERERA: Manufacturing activity in the New York area picked up in October as optimism over business conditions improved. New orders showed a small increase as did shipments which just recently hit its lowest level in nearly three years.
GRIFFETH: And the international monetary fund today is predicting global economic growth will slow to its weakest levels since the 2008 financial crisis. It now sees 3 percent growth overall for the global economy, 2.4 percent for the U.S. and 6.1 percent in China. According to the group, a sharper than expected slowdown in international trade is affecting manufacturing and investments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GITA GOPINATH, IMF CHIEF ECONOMIST: One factor are the rising trade barriers and the continuing geopolitical and trade tensions. But then there are a couple of other factors which is kind of country-specific factors in emerging market and developing economies, and also structural forces, which is low productivity growth, an aging demographics and advanced economy. So, these three factors are responsible for this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: Yes, I`ve added that the outlook could darken even more if trade tensions remain unresolved.
HERERA: New reports out of the world`s second largest economy show it continues to face a number of challenges.
Eunice Yoon is in Beijing.
EUNICE YOON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: More evidence of a weak Chinese economy. Producer prices fell in September by their fastest pace in three years, due to sluggish demand, as well as falling energy and raw material costs. Most analysts believe China will roll out further stimulus as early as this month. Consumer prices spiked by their quickest clip in six years, mostly because of pork.
China`s pig population is down 41 percent because of African swine fever. The pork shortage is pushing up prices of all proteins here. The foreign ministry said today that China would accelerate the purchase of U.S. agricultural products, but the state media has still barely mentioned the $50 billion purchase pledge that came out of the trade talks.
The Communist Party paper “The Global Times” referred to the purchase but as tens of billions of dollars and pointed out that the purchase could be fully achieved as long as the two sides continue to maintain and expand consensus. In other words, Beijing feels that the purchases are still its prime bargaining chip and will hold back, even though it needs the food.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eunice Yoon in Beijing.
GRIFFETH: Time to take a look now at some of today`s upgrades and downgrades. We begin with shares of Lowe`s. They were upgraded to overweight from neutral at Piper Jaffray, with the analysts citing lower mortgage rates and an improving sales outlook. Price target now, $130. That stock was up one and a half percent today to $112.42.
Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) was upgraded to overweight from sector weight at KeyBanc. The analysts cited the retailer`s brand new CEO and the improvements in merchandising and operations that he is expected to bring. The price target now, $18. Despite that upgrade, though, the stock fell more than 2 percent today to $11.99.
And Bloomin` Brands was downgraded to hold from buy at Deutsche Bank. The analysts cited the overall lackluster casual dining industry right now. Price target, $21. That stock fell about 1 percent today to $17.97.
HERERA: Still ahead, when the Democratic presidential hopefuls take the debate stage tonight, the economy will be in the spotlight.
HERERA: There are reports tonight the General Motors (NYSE:GM) and the UAW are closing in on an agreement that would end the 30-day labor strike. While a final deal has not been announced, it`s being widely reported that the automaker and the union have agreed to terms on most issues. The strike has cost the automaker an estimated $2 billion.
GRIFFETH: UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) topped earnings estimates. They raise their 2019 forecast and offered a glimpse into next year as well. The largest U.S. health insurer said today, it is raising its long term earnings growth target to between 13 and 16 percent in part because of strength in its Medicare business. The results are relieved to investors that have been concerned about the increased scrutiny in Washington over health care costs. Shares of the company climbed 8 percent today, making it the best performing stock in the Dow today.
Medicare is a big business not just for UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) but for other private insurers as well, and many are expanding their offerings.
Bertha Coombs takes a look at what some are calling a hot market.
BERTHA COOMBS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Guy Penny has been on his wife`s health insurance for years, but now, he`s turning 65.
GUY PENNY, NEW MEDICARE ENROLLEE: People come out of woodwork to contact you.
COOMBS: The Sacramento hairstylist has been deluge with Medicare plan offers, he`s leaning toward a Medigap supplemental plan but isn`t sure.
PENNY: It`s a little scary when you`re wondering whether or not you`re going to the budget the best for you, you know. Because there`s so many different ones.
COOMBS: With 10,000 baby boomers a day aging into Medicare, it is becoming the fastest growing segment of the health insurance market. The Trump administration expects that Medicare Advantage plan growth could top 10 percent next year, and that is prompting insurers to expand.
CVS (NYSE:CVS) Health`s Aetna (NYSE:AET) unit is moving into 260 new markets, UnitedHealthcare will add a hundred new regions and Medicare giant Humana (NYSE:HUM) more than two dozen. The Trump administration has given insurers greater flexibility to design all-in-one Medicare advantage plans with additional benefits that go beyond traditional Medigap coverage, ranging from free gym memberships, vision and dental benefits, to help with home care.
SCOTT FLANDERS, EHEALTH CEO: There`s more alternatives and there are more benefits. So, it`s a net positive if you get into the right plan but there`s also more confusion and a little bit more stress for the senior trying to get them into the right plan.
COOMBS: For insurers, those all-in-one plans can be lucrative if they can keep members healthier and avoid costly hospital stays. That`s the goal of Medicare advantage upstarts like Oscar and Clover Health funded by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Ventures and Devoted Health backed by VC firm Andreessen and Horowitz.
GRETCHEN JACOBSON, KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION: There seems to be a lot of potential value for the venture capital companies because when you think about it, they`re investing in these insurance plans for seniors rather than investing in other types of products like biotech or any healthcare technology.
COOMBS: Democratic hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have called for banning all private insurers but an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found 56 percent of voters oppose the idea.
JACOBSON: Private plans have a very large role in the current Medicare system.
COOMBS: And boomers like Guy Penny like having options, even if it`s hard to make a choice.
PENNY: What helps out is the fact that I know next year, at this time, I could change it if I didn`t like it.
COOMBS: Medicare annual enrollment for 2020 runs through December 7th.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bertha Coombs.
GRIFFETH: Now for those of you looking at your Medicare coverage right now, now is the time to make decisions for next year.
Our Sharon Epperson joins us tonight with what you need to know for this Medicare open enrollment period, and how you can save some money.
Now you have reported in the past that the average couple retiring this year is expected to pay about $285,000 in health care-related costs over the time of their retirement, even if you do qualify for Medicare. So what determines how much you`re going to spend here?
SHARON EPPERSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Really what determines how much you spend on health care is how healthy you are. I mean, it seems to make sense but if you have a chronic illness if you have multiple prescriptions that you must take, this is going to increase the amount you spend. So, now is the time to really figure out how much you may have to spend in retirement if you`re not already retired.
And if you are retired, what`s changed? How is your health status change from last year? That may indicate that you may want to make a different choice for your Medicare plan.
And then also, depending on how old you are, if you`re not 65, as was pointed out, you`re going to have to pay for this with a health insurance plan of your own, so you need to figure that out and your retirement income, the higher it is, the higher the premiums, keep that in mind for original Medicare in particular.
GRIFFETH: As we mentioned, this is open enrollment time, where you can make changes in your coverage and maybe your prescription drug plan as well. But what are the different Medicare options that are out there at this point?
EPPERSON: So this alphabet soup is what confuses people because there`s so many different parts to Medicare. So we`ll start with the hospital visits. That is part A, and that is free from the government in the original Medicare.
Part B is outpatient visits. You may have a monthly premium, and you will for that. And then Medicare Advantage, as Bertha described, is a managed care plan. And so you there various ones from private insurers that you can compare on medicare.gov to see which is best for you. Part D is for prescription drugs and that again is what you really need to be looking at now during open enrollment to see if there been any changes.
And if you can lower the premiums that you`re paying for that coverage, if you need some type of supplemental insurance a Medigap policy can help there. But many people are saying, rather than do that, and let me see if I can look at Medicare Advantage.
GRIFFETH: Quickly, I don`t know if there`s an answer to this. But I mean, with between the co-pays and the premiums and all in, and out-of-pocket expenses, how do you try and lower your own cost?
Well, do some of the things you were doing in your insurance plan. Look at that network, make sure it`s in network if you`re doing this Medicare advantage plan.
Also, think now about contributing to an HSA. Pre-tax money goes in, you can use it for health care expenses that may not be covered by Medicare. So that`s something to consider. If your spouse is not yet retired, you are, they can put the money in the HSA for you.
GRIFFETH: Sharon Epperson, always good to see you. Thank you.
HERERA: Blackrock`s total assets near $7 trillion. That`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The asset management firm received about $85 billion in new money in the latest quarter, as the company top Wall Street`s expectations. Blackrock saw investors shift money into its fixed income funds and cash management units. Shares were up more than 2 percent to $444.45.
Charles Schwab topped estimates, thanks to higher trading volume and growth in its asset management and administration fees. But the online broker said it`s still concerned about global trade and a soft economic outlook. Schwab rose more than 5 percent to $39.4.
Abbott Labs is buying back an additional $3 billion worth of its shares. Separately, the company said it`s teaming up with tandem diabetes care to explore new ways to improve diabetes management options. The shares rose more than two and a half percent to $81.98.
GRIFFETH: Canadian cannabis company Aphria reported mixed results. It did turn in a profit when Wall Street had been expecting a loss, but revenue came in below expectations. Aphria also reaffirmed its full-year outlook. And shares rose more than 24-1/2 percent today to $5.43.
Then after the bell tonight, United Airlines profit topped estimates but revenue fell just short. The airline experienced flight reductions to Hong Kong and to China in the latest quarter, but United was able to raise its full-year outlook. And that led to shares initially rising in after-hours trading tonight on top of the closing regular session. They were up about 1 percent to $87.88.
HERERA: Democratic presidential hopefuls take the stage in Ohio for a debate. And once again, economic issues are expected to be a major focus.
John Harwood is in Westerville covering this story for us tonight.
John, so how do we expect the two frontrunners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren to difference themselves on the economy?
JOHN HARWOOD, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a new situation in the race now that Warren is a co front-runner with Joe Biden. It`s a classic center versus left matchup between these two frontrunners and it`s built largely around the fundamental changes that Elizabeth Warren wants in American capitalism — breakup big tech, new rules for corporation, wealth taxes. I would expect her to continue to make the case that those are sensible changes.
Joe Biden`s point of view is that they`re not practical, that they go too far. But he also, of course, has other fish to fry in this debate tonight and that is to make a forceful response to President Trump over the attacks the Trump has been making on him and his son Hunter. Joe Biden will make the case that that shows that the president the United States is scared of me. I`m the best able to take him out in 2020.
GRIFFETH: Bernie Sanders is expected to be there tonight. What role is he going to play in the campaign now with his health issues and he`s — you know, he`s been a differentiator with Elizabeth warren on the far left as well.
HARWOOD: It`s an important moment for Bernie Sanders to try to show that he`s back in the race, that he can perform with vigor and energy, 78 years old having had a heart attack.
But it`s interesting that the way he chose to contrast himself in the last few days with Warren is to say, she`s a capitalist, I am not. That may help him hold on to some of his base which has been dwindling, but I think it`s also beneficial to Warren because she can portray herself as in the middle, in between Bernie Sanders on the left and Joe Biden in the center.
HERERA: Very quickly, can any of the others breakthrough on the economic side of things on the arguments there?
HARWOOD: They`re already trying. Pete Buttigieg has got an ad up today going after Elizabeth Warren on Medicare-for-All, for the issue that Bertha Coombs raised in that piece a moment ago, that it would get rid of private insurance. Kamala Harris (NYSE:HRS) has also differentiated herself from the frontrunner by saying that even though she initially embraced Medicare- for-All, she wants to preserve a role for private insurers, too.
Look for that issue to be a way that they can make a contrast.
HERERA: John, thank you so much. John Harwood in Westerville, Ohio.
HARWOOD: You bet.
GRIFFETH: And coming up, the next chapter. A popular video game goes dark, but now we know why.
GRIFFETH: Finally, tonight, it was a gaming cliffhanger. The wildly popular video game “Fortnite” suddenly went black on Sunday, leaving its 250 million players around the world wondering what happened. But now, it has all been cleared up.
Here`s Josh Lipton.
JOSH LIPTON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: “Fortnite” fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Epic Games, a private company that owns the smash hit, has now formally launched chapter 2 of that game. “Fortnite” boasts 250 million registered players and raked in an estimated $2.4 billion in revenue last year, more than any other single title. “Fortnite” is free-to-play but makes money when gamers purchase digital items like weapons.
“Fortnite” had been down since Sunday. Players trying to enter the game simply saw this — a blank screen with a black hole. But this was no error, analysts say. Instead, they emphasized that this was a bold marketing strategy designed to generate interest and excitement about this new version.
The decision to shut down the game cost Epic an estimated seven million dollars a day in lost revenue, but it also sparked a ton of buzz at a time when there are signs that interest could be ending. Piper Jaffray in a recent survey of teenagers found that 37 percent said they played “Fortnite”, that`s down from 53 percent in the spring, though demand can fluctuate depending on seasonality and what other games are popular at that moment.
Still, analysts say if chapter 2 now proves popular, it could rejuvenate interests and pose a challenge to rival games like Electronic Arts` “Apex Legends”.
“Fortnite`s” popularity could also slow momentum for the latest iteration of Activision`s “Call of Duty” which launches next week.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Josh Lipton, San Francisco.
HERERA: And before we go, here`s another look at the day`s final numbers on Wall Street. The Dow rose 237 points to close back above 27,000. The Nasdaq was up 100, and the S&P 500 added 29.
And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for joining us.
GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a great evening. See you tomorrow.
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